Thursday, November 02, 2006

Around the L

The posting of late has been sporadic at best (and that's being generous), and that's to be expected for about the next month or so. My apologies to all nine of you (yes, I feel comfortable going with nine; I think we're up from the previous high of four). But after that, it's on for serious. Just so you know.

That said, I had to talk a little bit about days one and two of the NBA season. I have never been this excited for the L to get underway. Ever. So let's get to it.

Play of the Year, So Far. Dwight Howard v. Ben Wallace. Howard had Wallace on the left side, took one hard dribble to the right, quickly spun back to the left - completely losing Wallace in the process, by the way - and then did a two-handed chin up on the rim. Just vicious, vicious stuff. Duncan, Yao, KG, Brand...Howard. And by the end of the season, that order could change. I really have no idea how high his ceiling is, but I can't see it from where I'm standing. He really makes the term "monster" seem insignificant.

Who Needs Kobe? Certainly not the Lakers or Lamar. If Lamer can keep this up - and I really think he can - the Lakers are virtually impossible to defend on the perimeter at the 2-3 spots. If Farmer and Bynum are competent - not even good; just don't suck like Kwame and Smush - the Lakers are suddenly incredibly tough to beat. Throw in the cerebral Luke Walton (again, code for "doesn't suck" and "knows how to get Kobe the ball") the Lake Show is downright scary. I'm scared. Are you scared? Well, you should be.

The biggest question with LA this season though is this: Are they going to make their stands all dark and foreboding again? Was that only for opening night? Personally, I think they should keep them like that. It made the court look like a stage and it was pretty bad-ass. If this catches on, I won't be against it.

Cavs Pick Up Where They Left Off. Clearly, the Cavs go as far as LeBron will carry them, but if Larry Hughes continues to ball like this - looking smooth, knocking down J's, getting to the rim - Cleveland has a bona fide second weapon to compliment LeBron, which they haven't had (If you were about to say anything resembling Ilgaukus, save yourself the effort and shutup right now). And his lefty dunk after cutting down the paint was particularly nasty. Consider me excited.

So who's the most important Second Fiddle in the NBA, Larry Hughes or Lamar Odom? So far, Lamar's been the best, but Hughes could put the Cavs in the Finals. So: we'll see.

As for the Wiz: well, Gilbert has me scared. I'm worried than when The Chosen 1 laid hands on him, he ruined him for life. Kind of a modern-day Nick Anderson. But I don't think Gilbert's mind works that way; I don't think he even really understands "pressure" in the traditional sense. Actually, I have no idea how his mind works, but I hope he just had a bad game. Because of Gilbert goes in the tank, that's not going to be good for anyone: not the NBA, not the Wizards, not the fans, not even the Cavs.

I also decided that Deshawn Stevenson is the worst starter in the NBA. I don't know about worst player overall - probably someone buried on Golden State's bench - but Stevenson is awful.

The Knickerbockers are on pace to go 82-0 and play 246 overtimes. Holy hell, the Knicks are undefeated. I don't know why, but this is disappointing. I think its because I like to see greatness, and the Knicks are in line to accomplish said greatness, and they go and blow it with a triple-OT win. Damnit.

Here's my question though: at the end of regulation, the Knicks gave Jamal Crawford the ball at the top of the key and told him to win the game. He failed. At the end of the first OT, same play, same result. Second overtime? Ditto. Three times in a row they gave Jamal the ball, three times in a row he messed it up. How does that happen? And more importantly, how does Stephon feel about this? Actually, as long as the Knicks won, I'm sure Starbury (Can we just call him Starburst? Every time I hear that name, I want one. Watermelon, for some reason.) is happy. If Starbury is about anything, its about wins.

As for the Grizzles, Mike Miller pissed at Charlie Villaneuva? If he isn't, then why is he gunning for his spot as captain of the All Ugly Team? What the hell was that hair cut? He looked like an strung out, ungroomed Pug.

Chicago to the Finals! Chicago Sucks! So which one is it? Well, probably somewhere in between.

They beat the hell out of a Miami team that really could have cared less, minus D Wade. (That whole "gather a bunch of vets dying to get a ring" thing really only works when those vets don't have a ring, right? I thought Miami could win their division just because it was pretty weak, but man...they really don't give a shit. They are the Randy Moss's of the L.) Then they lost to an upstart Magic team. They are still solid, though. They aren't going to the Finals - probably not even the conference finals - but they'll still be a tough out.

I just really don't see how the Ben Wallace signing makes them better. They were already great at defense. It would be like the Colts signing another wide receiver. Once you reach a certain point, you kinda can't get better. How are they going to score? When they play Wallace and Duhon at the same time, they have two guys who aren't a threat to score. That makes them relatively easier to guard, yes? I don't know...I just see them as the same team as last year, only scoring less points. That doesn't seem good, at least to me. We'll see.

I Jumped Into a Pool and Got Wet. In a related story, Rasheed Wallace go thrown out of the first game of the year. We get it, 'Sheed. You don't like the new rules. What a freakin' moron. God, I can't wait to see the Pistons implode this year. One down, 81 to go.

Better Late Than Never. RIP, Red Auerbach. To be honest, I don't know too much about Red, except that he coached a bunch of champions and then put together a bunch more as the Celt's GM. I've heard him described as the most important non-player in NBA history and the greatest winner ever, which are both things you can brag about in heaven. Seems like he lived hs life how he wanted. Doesn't seem like the kind of guy who had too many regrets. Admirable, I'd say.

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